LONDONDERRY — Londonderry High is among a total of five schools across the Granite State to be honored with National Banner Unified Champion School status.

The recognition signifies that the school has demonstrated a commitment to inclusion by meeting 10 standards of excellence developed by a nation panel from Special Olympics and the education community.

Londonderry is the fifth in New Hampshire to achieve this honor, joining Alvirne High School, Dover High School, Gilford High School and Epping High School.

Ashley Tebbetts, a health and physical education teacher at Londonderry High, is also a unified soccer coach and works alongside coworker and fellow coach Ann MacLean, who is also a health and interactive physical education teacher and coaches the school's unified basketball and track teams.

Tebbetts said the teams at Londonderry High are successful both athletically and socially.

“We offer a variety of interactive classes that promote an inclusive environment where students and support students can thrive and establish the skills necessary to become independent, successful, and lifelong learners," Tebbetts said. "The unified program at Londonderry High is built on the philosophy of being a family where we support one another.”

The school's unified soccer team wrapped up its 2019 season as the NHIAA state champions while the unified basketball team scored runner-up status for 2020 from NHIAA.

The unified track team has also won the state championship for the past seven years.

MacLean added the program in Londonderry goes beyond sports.

New Hampshire Special Olympics Director of Schools Pete Cofran said the organization is proud of all staff and students involved in Londonderry's program, working to strengthen the inclusion of all students into the high school community.

"To be only the fifth New Hampshire high school to reach this important national recognition is a credit to the entire Lancer community," Cofran said.

In addition to the unified roster, Londonderry High fielded a team in the 2020 High School Penguin Plunge held last February at Hampton Beach.

The 21 Londonderry High plungers raised more than $4,500 for Special Olympics New Hampshire programs.

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